The Voice of the Child – Children sharing their perspectives on COVID-19
While much has been written about the effects of COVID-19 on the Australian psyche, and on the effects of the pandemic on the Australian economy, one voice in this space has been left largely unheard – the voice of the child.
So many of the elements of life for Australia’s children have changed, leaving members of The Apiary – an initiative of The Front Project, seeking to understand more deeply the effects of the pandemic on children.
The authors of Loss And Gains Of COVID-19: Through The Eyes Of The Child came together to gain insight into children’s lived experiences, and to capture “the direct and unfiltered voices of children as they reflect on their own COVID-19 journey, the losses, the gains and what living in a COVID context means to them.”
Children involved in the project ranged in age from three to five years, and came from a diverse range of early childhood education and care (ECEC) services across NSW and Victoria. The premise for interviewing the children was simple – how did they feel about COVID-19? What did they think, and what did they want adults to know about their experiences?
For many, this was the first time an adult had engaged with them about their perspective, and the resulting pictures and words that they shared were both generous and profound, authors said.
Structured around three main themes, Loss And Gains Of COVID-19: Through The Eyes Of The Child, is fittingly built on the feedback children gave. Using the lenses of safety and security, relationships and control, underlying themes of loss and restoration emerged too.
The drawings shared by the children clearly show the different ways children have actively attempted to make sense of what they have observed, heard or experienced.
While touching heavily on what has been lost, the children’s work also shows a sense of hope, of resilience, and of a return to normal.
“There is much we can learn from what the children have shared, for the here-and-now and for the future. Central to this is the valuing of relationships and connection” the authors said.